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Energy Office Gives Youngsters Environmental Lessons

VIEO and SEA program teaches environmental issues to children on St. Croix.The Virgin Islands Energy Office (VIEO) is participating in a St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA) program geared to reach all the second and fourth graders on St. Croix with lessons about the environment.
The VIEO lessons concern how the use of energy affects the environment. Rebekka Stone is implementing the program for SEA and has helped design lesson plans and student activities for the Energy Office. VIEO’s Don Buchanan is making the presentations and working on the activities. The first program with VIEO’s participation was held Jan. 27 at Sandy Point and was for second graders from St. Patrick’s School in Frederiksted.
The lesson specifically addresses how the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles and power plants emits CO2 in the atmosphere, and how trees extract the carbon part from the atmosphere. Then Buchanan explains that when that cycle is disrupted (deforestation) or made lopsided (too much fossil fuel being burned) the atmosphere becomes unhealthy. Students are given suggestions about how their behavior — their use of energy — can contribute to a healthy environment.
The lesson is illustrated by an activity run by Stone. Students representing the Water and Power Authority (WAPA) as well as cars and trucks throw sponges, representing CO2, to students who are representing trees. It becomes obvious to students what happens when trees are cut down, trees absorb carbon decrease, and, then, more cars are put on the road. The exercise ends with many students throwing sponges but few gathering them up.
Upcoming presentations are Feb. 5, 4th graders at Estate Thomas; Feb. 10, 2nd graders at Salt River, Columbus Landing; and Feb. 24, 2nd graders at Salt River, Columbus Landing.

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